Thursday

What is 'born again'?

Hi there. This growing set of notes are here to help you understand what the Bible really says, and to put it into plain English so that you can tell others as well. 

My idea is to take just a verse or so, and say it different. (OK, 'differently'!)

So here goes the first one:'

'Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.' John chapter 3:3

So, lets put that in other words:

'This is most true: unless you are born a second time, you can never see God's kingdom, let alone get into it.'

There are two kingdoms in this world. One is a kingdom of evil and darkness, the other a kingdom of light and truth. The two are opposed to each other, and every one of us live in one or the other.

You and I were born into the kingdom of darkness at our natural birth. For us to ever get free, and enter the kingdom of light, we need to be born again. That is something that can only happen in a spiritual realm. 

So, unless I am born again, I cannot see the invisible but awesome kingdom of God that is everywhere around me. My natural eye and intellect cannot perceive it.

It is not about becoming religious or joining a church. It is very personal and individual. Actually, many of the people going to church are still in the kingdom of darkness.

But this is something supernatural and transforming.

The 'Matrix' film sort of describes it in a different way. When 'Neo' was challenged and given the choice of two pills to swallow, he was offered the choice to stay in ignorance (the blue pill), or dare to believe that there was more to life than the life he supposedly lived (the red pill). 

You can never understand or see what and where God's kingdom is, unless you have a second birth.

It takes faith to enter this kingdom of light, and that faith is a gift that turns up when someone hears the truth of what the Bible says. Jesus said, 'I am the way, I am the truth, and I am the life'.  That says it all really!  But you cannot create such faith through your emotion or mind. You have to ask God for that faith. Then you can see beyond what you can see, and believe in what you have not believed before. 

Swallowing the 'pill' of faith opens the eyes.

At that moment, when faith happens, the door to God's kingdom is revealed to you, and you can enter this glorious and amazing experience. At the same time as this happens, God imparts a new spirit within you which changes your nature and understanding. 

You realize that you were blind, but now you suddenly see the truth, and you are born into God's family to become his child. That is a radical and life-changing experience. 

You will never be the same again.

This is just the beginning of an amazing adventure with God, which will lead you into all truth, and to your destiny of heaven itself.

Ask God that you might be born again and have a new start in life.

I hope and pray that this enlightens and opens someone's eyes.


Pilgrim Warrior

Email: john@crownflag.com


Tuesday

Really blessed!


'Blessed is the person whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.'  Psalm 32:1

Well, that makes sense, but let's say it different!

'Most happy and thrilled is the person whose crime of breaking God's laws has been written off, discharged from them, and pardoned. Happy and amazed is the person whose sins against God have been forgiven and covered (blotted out) forever, never to be brought up against them anymore.' 

Notice that the person who the writer declares as 'blessed' is a sinner and a rebellious creature. This is not spoken about some holier-than-thou religious person, but of a wretched and unworthy dirty sinner.

To such a one who knows the rottenness of their own sin and unrighteousness, this blessedness of having their sins removed and put away is truly incredible and wonderful! It is utterly undeserved, but is given freely to whoever calls on the name of the Lord for salvation.

It makes them want to shout and jump for joy! They have been favoured and lifted up beyond any expectations! Only those who know their sins forgiven know the thrill of such an awesome experience.

Anyone who turns to Jesus Christ for this great gift will discover that he is ready to listen, and through his blood he washes away our sin and guilt, and makes us holy in his sight. 

It is not through 'turning over a new leaf', or trying to be better, but simply by looking to Jesus and believing that he alone can forgive sins and make us righteous. And the minute we do that is the moment we are saved from our own folly, misery, and guilt, and discover the true joy and freedom of the soul.

You cannot buy this 'blessed' condition, neither can you earn it or get it from the priest, and you do not get it by trying to be good.

'Look unto me, and be saved: for I am God, and there is no one else to go to.'  (Isaiah 45:22)

The greatest happiness in the world is to know that I am right with God.

Come to Jesus. Lay down your sin at the cross. Walk forward into an amazing new life with God your creator and saviour.


Pilgrim Warrior




Friday

GLOBAL WARMING, OR NATURE'S VOICE?

   

Everywhere people are talking about 'global warming' and the need to change things. Electric cars, gas-free spray cans, new types of energy, and thousands of other ideas are being thrust forward as the answers to all of the things going on in our world right now.

First of all, it is not our world. We may indeed inhabit it, but it does not belong to us. Secondly, nature herself has a voice and is expressing herself most clearly. Nature is being allowed to bring its own judgment on a world that has rejected righteousness and the proper way to live.

There is a verse that speaks of the whole of creation being in pain and like a woman in labour, due to the perversion, violence, and abuses of mankind and his total rejection of the Creator's laws; which laws are there for the good of mankind.

What we are seeing and hearing is God's voice in creation giving fair warning to the human population to turn to their Creator, or suffer the consequences. 

The more we laugh and sneer at truth, the more severe the judgments that will follow. What we call 'The End of Days', is that much closer than we may think.

One of the signs of this, (which the Bible tells us will be visible and felt around the whole world), will be  the 'distress of nations'.

This week the headlines in the UK said that 60% of people here are suffering real life-changing distress following the last three years of troubles around the globe, including the enforced 'lockdowns' and the deliberately escalated war in the Ukraine. Distress is rampant across the nations with failing economies, diseases and bio weapons, violence and evil at an unprecedented level, worrying weather extremities, and no voice of hope being offered anywhere.

See what the Bible says of 2022:

'And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and on the earth there shall be distress of nations, with perplexity [the inability to deal with or understand things]; the sea and the waves roaring; people's hearts failing them out of fear, and at looking at those things which are coming upon the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken [the order of things above and all around us shall be shaken].

And then shall they see the Son of man [Jesus Christ the Son of God] coming down in a cloud with power and great glory.

And when these things begin to happen, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption [the day of your deliverance and freedom] draws near.'     (Luke 21:25-28)

'Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you shall be saved [delivered].' (Romans 10:9Acts 16:31)

Thursday

Follow the commands

 
‘Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ, for the remission of sins.’  (Acts 2:38)

So, lets say it different!

Repent: Turn around. Stop doing what is wrong, and turn to God’s way.

And get baptized in the name of Jesus Christ.

Both of these are commands. The people who Peter was speaking to in this passage were struck to the heart because they came to understand that they were wrong, and they needed to get right with God. That is where the call to repent comes in. We need to put off sin and fully turn round from the direction we are going in.

Baptism is an outward confession of what is going on inside our hearts. It is declaring that we do indeed repent of our sin and are ready to follow Christ the rest of our lives.

The disciples of Jesus always baptized in his name. It was simple and direct. That name was a real point of controversy, embarrassment, and would declare you to be follower of the Son of God. Jesus is the name that is above all names, but it is also the name that devils and men hate.

This is not a ‘religious’ ritual, but far, far, more. It is signing your life over to the call of God, and the outward profession of being a follower of Jesus.

Most churches baptize in ‘the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost’. The disciples only baptized in the name of Jesus. They commanded that people be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ.

I believe that we need to come back to this in an age where his name is continually despised and blasphemed. People, (even some church-goers), don’t mind speaking about God; but just mention Jesus, and the heads drop in embarrassment!

Baptism is a picture of death and burial to the old life, and rising again into the new resurrection life in God through Jesus. It also was such a challenge, that only those who were ready to repent of their sin would even consider it. Therefore the verse tells us to repent, and be baptized for the remission (forgiveness) of our sin.

If you want to be forgiven and saved for eternity, then repent, and get baptized.

The act of baptism does not remove sin, but faith in the death and resurrection of Jesus leads us to do what God says. It is in both these actions that we nail our colours to the mast; and what we purpose in our hearts is now endorsed through our obedience of faith. So, being baptized ‘for the forgiveness of sins’, follows the words of Jesus, ‘If you love me, keep my commands.’  (John14:15)

You may have been baptized as a child, but that is not the baptism that is being spoken of here. You knew nothing of what it really meant back then, and it was simply a church ritual. You may have been baptized as an adult, but have never truly repented or been born again. You need to repent and be baptized with understanding of what it really means.

Ask whoever is baptizing you to baptize you in the name of Jesus Christ. They will most likely object because it is not their wish or habit, so go find someone who will follow the Apostle's teaching.

If you want to know more, then you can read my other notes: PilgrimWarrior: Were you baptized the New Testament way?

 

Pilgrim Warrior

 

Wednesday

The Unseen Guest


‘Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst.’ (Matthew 18:20)

Let’s say that different...

‘Where even just two or three of you meet together in my name, I will be right there with you.’

This is the promise of Jesus to all who follow him and believe in him. He might be the unseen guest, the silent listener, the person in the fourth chair, but he will be there.

Note however, that there is no mention of a priest, a pastor, a ‘worship group’, or an organist having to be there. He simply stated that wherever in the world just two people meet together in his name to talk about the things pertaining to God’s kingdom, or to pray, or encourage each other in the Bible’s teaching, then Jesus himself is in the same room, cave, tent, or even as you shelter in a bus stop from the rain.

You do not need anyone’s permission to come together and read the Bible, have a time of prayer, or simply to meet up because you are of the same mind. Christ is the head of his church and he is the access into God’s presence.

The Bible says that whoever receives him as their Saviour and Lord, they are privileged to be the children of God. If this be so, then his children have full rights and access into the Father’s house and throne room. Nobody has any right to forbid them entry, nor do any have the legal authority to tell them they cannot meet with God whenever they wish to.

God had no intention for us to just sit in church every Sunday singing choruses and listening to the man on the platform telling some stories from what often is an actor’s stage. If that is all there is to our faith, then all we have is some form of religious institutionalism that has no power and no evidence of a real living God.

The church of the New Testament got filled with the Holy Spirit, and then went everywhere preaching the gospel in every house. It was not the apostles (the leaders) only who saw phenomenal growth of new converts, but the crowds of ordinary men and women who ‘went everywhere preaching the word’. (Acts 8:4

The apostles never locked the congregation into a planned church programme where you just sat there, threw some coins into the basket, and could not meet with other members for a meeting unless the pastor gave you permission.

In my church in Wales, I was delighted whenever any of the people opened their homes to hold Bible-studies or prayer meetings. I was thrilled when individuals used their initiative and passion to go out and evangelize in their community. “I would love for God to make all of His people prophets (preachers, evangelists), and that the LORD would put his Spirit upon them!”  (Numbers11:29)

Sadly, the platform and pulpit are guarded and held aloft through fear and competitiveness. The ministry is sometimes seen as being open only to the educated and ‘qualified’; but God will take the nothings of this world, even those considered foolish, and show his glory through them. God does not need a brilliant mind; but with a humble and passionate heart, he can turn the world upside-down. (1Corinthians 1:27)

We live in a new time period now. Things have drastically changed. 

It is time to get back to New Testament Christianity, which is more about Believers meeting with Believers, rather than our modern-day practise of church-goers sitting in rows of chairs, (while secretly checking our their text messages but making out to be all religious!).

We need fire in our meetings, passion in the pulpits, and congregations of those who believe that they are called to be living witnesses for Jesus every single day of their lives.


Pilgrim warrior


Tuesday

Fed up and burdened with life?

‘Come unto me all you that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.’  Matthew 11:28

Say it different.

‘Come to me all of you that are worn out with the troubles and stresses of this world, all you who are burdened with the cares and pressures of this life, and I will give you the rest you cannot find and which the world knows nothing about.'

If ever there was a message that has become both relevant and desperately needed, it is this. With the world seemingly getting worse by the day, and nothing but negative and frightening news being poured out by the media, we can sometimes find ourselves looking for a cave or a refuge to hide ourselves in.

There are multitudes of counsellors and therapists offering their varied services, and even more astrologers and mystics telling you that they know what is wrong with you and have the magic cure to put things right.

However, the great vacuum inside of all of us, and the deepest cry from within, is a spiritual matter that only God knows how to fix. And he says, ‘Come to me, and I will give you rest: not simply a physical rest, but something that goes deep into the heart, soul, and mind.

Meditation courses and yoga sessions can never fix the real need of the human heart, and yet thousands run along to their local relaxation centres or log-on to a virtual class. The Almighty God and Creator calls out to us feeble humans and says, “I am the way, I am the truth, and I am the life; and without me you can do nothing except exist, chase your fleeting dreams, and leave this world without even knowing where you will be going afterwards.

Religion is a drug that guarantees nothing except superstition and rituals to help you feel a bit better. 

Faith in Jesus Christ the Son of God is about relationship and knowing God personally. It is about a new beginning, a transformed life; a truly born-again experience. It changes our citizenship from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of light, and guarantees us a blood-bought eternal passport to heaven.

 

Pilgrim Warrior

 

Light in the darkness


We read in John 1:9, 'He (Jesus) was the true Light, which lights every person who comes into the world.'

I often wondered quite what that meant. I understood that he is the source of light and life, and which to some degree, we all know something of; but then, a few years ago, I discovered something amazing!

The Bible speaks of Jesus as the Light. It then speaks of how he gives the light of life to every baby that is ever conceived. Without him, there is no life whatsoever.

A candle cannot self-ignite anymore than a match might burst into flame unless you strike it. So indeed, the miracle of every human life requires the input of God to in order to create it in the first place.

According to a study published in Scientific Reports, a beautiful firework display occurs in the darkness when a human egg is activated at the point of conception. The intensity of the sparks, scientists say, indicates the egg's potential to develop into a healthy embryo. 

So, after some 2,000+ years, we find the Bible right on target yet again. Life begins at the point of conception, and is heralded with an amazing light-show. God knew that long before any scientist had ever seen it. 

You are not an accident or chance of nature, but purposed and designed to know your Creator. We are conceived in darkness, born into darkness, and it still requires the Light of Life to make us a living soul.

In spite of our determination to refuse the One who made us, God loves us still and is calling us to turn back to him. Only he can bring light into our current darkness.


Pilgrim Warrior


Sunday

A handful of dust


'And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.'  (Genesis 2:7)

So, lets just take that and put it another way.

The Almighty God took some dust from the ground and created a man out of it. The man was indeed a fully healthy and amazing piece of his handiwork, but without a soul. God breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and that man became more than the animals: he became a living soul.

It was at the point of God breathing into him that he came alive and was more than just flesh and blood. Man had a spirit within him. There was an element of eternity breathed into him from Him who is eternal. 

Scientists have been searching for what they call the 'God Particle', but fail to see that within every human being it already exists. It is that spark of Light at conception that makes a person a living soul.

Sadly, the light quickly fades, and each one of us is born a sinner and into spiritual blindness. The awareness of babies and children to spiritual things is much greater than that of adults, but their 'innocence' is soon lost as they grow, and the nature of sin begins to reveal itself.

We all exist and live by whatever survival instinct keeps us going, but we are dead to God and lost eternally, unless something transforming happens in our lives

When our mortal bodies die, they return as a handful of dust from where they came; but our souls live on and are eternal. The soul of the believer in Jesus Christ is received at death into a wonderful paradise with him.

The soul of the unbeliever descends into a dark place of hopelessness and waiting for the day of judgment. It is a type of hell, where regret and the knowledge that death was not the end, becomes a dreadful reality.

'Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you shall be saved.  (Acts 16:31)


Pilgrim Warrior

LOOKING FOR A MIRACLE?

There's one right in front of you!


 

Tuesday

Things that make the heart sick


 'Hope deferred makes the heart sick: but when the desire comes, it is a tree of life.'  Proverbs 13:12

Or 'say it different'...

'When hopes and expectations do not come to pass as expected, or even more importantly, when all the promises you set your expectations on, slowly or suddenly vanish, then the heart gets sick; and that can be a physical sickness as well as mental and emotional trauma.

When someone or something blows your dreams out of the water, it deflates all the wheels of your motivation. You sink under disappointment and even despair. This can lead to depression and anxiety, stress and fatigue. 

Yes, fatigue! Suddenly all strength seems to drain from your body. Your energy suddenly vanishes, and it becomes an effort to carry out even the everyday tasks. You wonder why you feel so tired. Body, mind, and spirit, are joined together, and affect each other in ways we might not expect.

It can even go further, with headaches, chest pains, shortness of breath and a multitude of other symptoms. The heart can become physically weakened and create serious problems to your health. Your immune system falls apart in response to the calamity that your mind is registering. 

The writer of this proverb (many thousands of years ago) could have been giving a diagnose for many millions of people suffering from similar symptoms today. When your world comes crashing down around you, when reason and commonsense cannot explain what is happening, the body goes into a 'shock' state through anxiety and astonishment.

That is why the keeping of our word and not breaking promises to one another is so important. Justice and doing what is right can be the health and wealth of another individual, and that will also have a real impact in our own lives to a degree few ever discover.

Of course, the second part of the proverb is what we really need to focus on

'But when the desired hope or promise comes; when the expectation turns up, even though it got sidetracked, denied, stolen, or simply delayed, it becomes a tree of healing and a tree of life. The past disappointment flies away and the sun rises on you once again bringing health and restoration. It brings the promise and the assurance of all that you believed and hoped for.

We have to learn to look beyond the disappointments and frustrations, and keep moving forward. It is easy just to sit down and give up, but that must never be our action. Don't let the enemy of souls trample you down. 

The Bible tells us to 'trust in the LORD with all of our hearts, and not to rely on what we think about the situation'. (Proverbs 3:5) God knows where we are right now. He sees the injustices and the disappointments that afflict our lives. 

He tells us to commit everything to him, and he will bring things to pass in spite of the evil devices that are sometimes used against us. (Psalm 37:5)

Finally, let me say, God is able to bring back more than the enemy might have stolen from you. 

God is not mocked, neither is he confounded by feeble men in who live on what is but their borrowed breath of life.


Pilgrim Warrior


Monday

Run out of energy and even trying

When you feel that you have had enough of everything, and everybody; when all of your body and your mind feels at an end……

‘He gives power to the faint: and to them that have no might he increases strength.’  Isaiah 40:19-31, (but let's read the next two verses) ‘Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall completely fall: But those who wait on the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall fly up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.’

Oh, here comes God’s Word to put us back right again, to restore us and make us new!

It says exactly what it means! God can do what no vitamin tablets or energy drinks can do.

When our strength is gone and we feel like the reservoir of our energy has drained from our life altogether, there is this amazing promise from God. 

When we feel that even the small reserves of stubborn resolve to be strong have been exhausted and we feel like giving in to our body’s determination to just shut down, then just get into this word that God delivers to us in our weakest and most vulnerable moments of life.

Even the athletic and fit young men will come to times of weariness and fatigue, and find themselves incapable of doing anything that normally would be ‘a walk in the park’.  They too will fall down absolutely shattered and without strength.

However, those who will take the time to stop what they are trying to do, cease from all the struggling and the anxieties that brought them to such a state, and get alone with God, they shall renew their strength. They will find that in that secret place of the most high God, there is a river of refreshing, of life and vitality, of regeneration and resurrection, which the world’s doctors and consultants can never provide, or indeed, know anything about.

Where God is there is health and healing, mercy and grace, abundance and sufficiency for everything that lies ahead of us. For in his presence ‘there is fulness of joy’ (Psalm 16:11); and again the Bible says, ‘The joy of the LORD is your strength’ (Nehemiah 8:10).

If we would but take notice of what God offers, and find the door of refreshing which Jesus spoke about in John 10:9, (you shall go in and out and find ‘pasture’ – or all that you need) we would soon forget all the cares and worries of this diseased and troubling age, and find the converting and sustaining power of God that would turn us into eagles, The Bible says we shall mount up with wings as eagles. Think about that!  Not simply like the eagles, but indeed as eagles, with wings that are strengthened by the Holy Spirit, to soar beyond the expectation of those around us who think we are surely cast down for good.

We shall again run, and not get weary or tired out; we shall walk the walk so long as the journey must take us, and not fall down own under the pressures and challenges.  God is our strength. We can say like the prophet of old, ‘The LORD God is my strength, and he will make my feet like hinds’ feet (like the nimble feet of a young deer), and he will make me to walk upon my high places’ (the mountains, the battlefields, the spiritual high places).’  Habakuk 3:19

‘The LORD God is my strength, and he will make my feet like hinds’ feet.’  Psalm 27:14

The Word of God, this Holy Bible, has eternity and eternal power running through its pages that can transform our lives, turn back the darkness, overcome the enemy, and bring health and healing, strength and courage, blessing and contentment to our lives.

Read it every day, and see what a difference it will make to your life. If you do not know where to begin, then commit yourself to read two psalms in the morning, and at least one single chapter of John’s Gospel in the evening.

Most of the problems we face in life have a spiritual root. God’s Word has a spiritual and a practical answer. It is life to those who will take the time to open it and wait on God to give the understanding.


Pilgrim Warrior  2022

 

Sunday

Who is in your boat?


'Then they willingly received him into the ship: and immediately the ship was at the land whither they went.'  John 6:21

Say it different!

'Then they most happily received Jesus into the ship: and immediately the ship was at the place they were trying so hard to get to.'

The disciples headed out one night in a boat onto a calm sea, but before long a tempest arose and a storm began to batter the ship. As if that was not enough, they see a man walking on the waves towards them, and fear took a hold of them not knowing quite what was going on.

Fishermen and most sea-goers tend to be most superstitious and look for signs in the skies and in all of nature as being omens of evil, or promises of good fortune.

The men had been struggling with all of their strength and determination to keep the boat afloat and heading in the right direction toward their desired destiny. The night wore on slowly, and the wretched weather continued unabated.

Then they welcomed Jesus into the ship, and immediately they were exactly where they had been trying to go. No more struggles; no more fighting a storm; no more feeling sick and tired batting with the troubling waves and daunting rain.

So it is in life, especially when we know where we want to go, achieve what we have believed to be possible, get to the place where our hopes and dreams become a reality.

Storms arise all of a sudden and threaten to destroy all of our ambitions and expectations. The waves of discouragement drown out any ideas of success and prospering in our plans. The turbulence of disappointments seems to create the illusion of defeat and lost promises.

Jesus walks on top of the waves of our troubles, just waiting to be invited into the ship.

The moment he is given place in the boat by everyone, we get to where we wanted and needed to be.

When Christ is welcome into your boat, then miracles and grace find place also.

Hey, but don’t forget the poor guy at the back who has been rowing with you!

 

Pilgrim Warrior

Saturday

The poison of the tongue

‘But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.’ James 3:8

So, let’s say it different!

‘The tongue is an uncontrolled and untamed beast: it is a loose-cannon bent on violence, loaded with venom to inflict pain and death.’

A ‘loose cannon’ refers to the days of wooden warships which used cannons as their primary weapon. Because the recoil was so great when firing them, they had to be tied very securely to the deck with ropes, or else they could inflict great damage on the ship as well as the crew.

The apostle James had something to say about the tongue. He said that we can steer a powerful horse with just a bit and bridle, yet we cannot control our tongues. Before we even know it, this little terrier lashes out without any pre-thought and spews out all manner of evil words in response to any given situation.

We drive around in our cars as though we were invincible and untouchable, but when someone cuts us up, or we see somebody on the road acting unusually, the tongue goes into overdrive, cursing and ridiculing, bad-naming and jeering at the other person.

Worse still, when someone disagrees with us or causes us some offense, this little devil in our mouths casts poison into the room and aims its venom in whatever direction suits it best. And before you even know it, that tongue has done more damage in a few seconds than a bully at school might do in five years.

It cares not what the outcome may be, nor the damage it inflicts upon the hearers; and it speaks from the heart, ‘for out of what is really in the heart the mouth speaks.’  (Matthew 12:34)

So, we try to hide from others what we are really like deep down inside, but suddenly our words give us away!

James throws up the questions, “Who can control it? Who can tame it?”

Death and life are in the tongue. Our words can be sharper that the terrorist’s knife, or they can be the healing ointment of a kind physician. They can be the vicious poison that destroys a man’s spirit and renders him despondent, or they can be the very words that lift a soul from despair and hopelessness.

Oh that we might think before we open our mouths and give vent to our anger, or release hurting and unkind words on another creation of God. As we wish people would do to us, let us do to them also.  (Luke 6:31)

We may feel justified and satisfied with the use of this weapon against another person, but mark carefully what (Proverbs 18:21says: ‘Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit of it.’

The poison of the human tongue (unlike that of the snake) actually inflicts evil upon the person using it. Our words are both life and death to ourselves. If we persist in lashing out (just because we can), then our own lives will become full of the same bitterness and nastiness that will actually affect the way we think, the way we behave, and even the way we look.

The root cause, the control centre, the internal hub from where all this comes is the heart. God says that he will give us a new heart. ‘A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart (that bad attitude and hardness of heart) out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh (a heart of grace, compassion, and love).’  (Ezekiel 36:26)

Oh for a heart to praise my God!

A heart from sin set free;

A heart that always feels the blood

So freely shed for me.

 

A heart resigned, submissive, meek;

My great Redeemer’s throne,

Where only Christ is heard to speak;

Where Jesus reigns alone.


These words are from the eighteenth century hymn-writer Charles Wesley.

 

Pilgrim Warrior


Wednesday

Want to be right?

 

‘Repent and believe the gospel.’

In other words, ‘Turn around; stop what you are doing: and believe the good news.’

The greatest and best feeling in the world is to know that I am right with God.

To wake up in the morning, to be in work doing my job, to sit down in the evening and to go to sleep at night, knowing that I am right with the Almighty Maker of heaven and earth, is to live in a state of perfect peace and contentment.

To understand that all is not right with me before God, is the beginning of repentance. It is acknowledging that I am wrong and not living as I should. If I have no sensitivity about my wrong thoughts, my bad words, my evil and sinful thoughts and attitudes, my wicked practises, then where am I?

A repentant heart first expresses itself by owning up to God that I am not good enough or righteous, but truly wish I was. King David was a dirty sinner, and cried, ‘Oh God! Create in me a clean heart!’  (Psalm 51)

Ah, now there is a soul who God will listen to. He will always hear those who are humble and honest enough to tell him the truth.

To repent means that I am ready to put away all the junk in my life that offends God, in faith that he alone can forgive my sin and make me right. It involves the willingness and earnest desire to cease from wrong-doing and live a righteous life. 

I may not know if I can trust myself to live right, but I call upon God to help me, and I cut off all that I know to be wrong.

Then I need to believe the good news (the ‘gospel’) that promises me that if I repent and put my faith in the fact that Jesus died for me, I shall most certainly be forgiven and be made right with God.

It is only his blood that can wash away my sin and make me clean inside.

To be a true follower of Jesus Christ is to live a life of repentance that seeks always to do and be what God wants me to be. It means that I keep short accounts with him.

What I mean by that is, when I fail and make mistakes, or end up doing wrong in his sight, I quickly turn around, confess my sin, and ask him for forgiveness and restoration.

‘If we confess our sins (to God), he is faithful and just (righteous) to forgive us our sins, and to wash us from all unrighteousness.’  (1John 1:9) You don’t need a priest: only God can forgive sin.

We cannot be righteous by trying to be righteous. Righteousness is God's gift to us, freely given to anyone who asks.



From Pilgrim Warrior


 

Tuesday

How to understand spiritual things

Let’s take another verse from the Bible……

‘It is the spirit that quickens; the flesh profits nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.’  (John 6:63)

Sounds a bit complicated, so let me ‘say it different’.

‘It is the spirit that gives life and understanding to what I am saying; natural thinking cannot figure it out: the words that I speak to you are of spirit, and they are life to all who hear them.’

And so it is when we read the Bible. The intellect may grasp the story and the moral teachings, but unless the Holy Spirit gives understanding to the truth, all they are is words. Jesus was telling things to those who gathered around him and some were offended by his sayings, and others simply baffled.

You can sit in a church and listen to a preacher, but it does nothing for you whatsoever. Now, that may be because the preacher himself is both boring and has no clue about what he is saying, or it could be because you have no spiritual ability to understand.

No matter how simply we may put things, unless the Holy Spirit gives us the spiritual knowledge, we stay in ignorance; but when he, the Spirit of truth comes, he will lead us into all truth, for he lights up God’s word and spiritually enables us to receive it as from God.  (John 16:13)

Now, if we do not have the Spirit of God, then we do not belong to Jesus Christ, and need to be truly born again.  (Romans 8:9)

Have you received the Holy Spirit since you first believed? 

If not, ask God: for if we sinners know how to give good gifts to our children, HOW MUCH MORE will God give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him.  (Acts 19:2)  (Luke 11:13)

 

Pilgrim Warrior

Saturday

Turn your troubles into rejoicing!

 
Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls:

Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation.'   (Habakkuk 3:17-18)

OK, so lets put this into modern English! Lets 'say it different'!

In a sentence, the writer is saying, 'Whatever happens, I will praise my God and be happy in his presence.'

'Well, no matter how rubbish my circumstances are right now: no matter how terrible my business: no matter how everything seems to be falling apart: and no matter that I cannot see any great prospects: yet I will rejoice in my God and I will be happy that he is who he is, and that he has my case!

The old prophet is saying, that even if the fig trees in his orchard do not blossom this year, and his vineyard fails to produce anything: if his olive tress are empty of olives, and nothing good comes from all his labour on the farm: even if his flock of sheep have vanished, and the herd of cows he was rearing have gone too, he would still rejoice in God and sing praises to him for all his goodness.

Why? Firstly, because God is good, and he never changes. Secondly, because God will bring us through every situation and cause us to rise up again from the lowest place we find ourselves in. God loves a praising and thankful heart. There are too many moaners in this world!

A bit of thankfulness will go a long way with God. A happy, content, and joyful heart delights the Lord, and is also somewhat contagious among those who we brush up against. 

'The joy of the LORD is your strength.'  (Nehemiah 8:10)


Pilgrim Warrior 


Thursday

Beating the evil inclinations


‘Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.’
  (Romans 12:21)

So, to put it another way, ‘Do not let sin or evil conquer you, but you can conquer sin and evil by doing something else: do something that is good.’

Sin is a weapon. Unrighteous thoughts, wrong desires, or wrong intentions are a weapon against your own soul. These are not simply passive emotions or alternatives to doing what is good and right. They are weapons that are self-inflicting, hurting you just as much, if not more, than they actually damage anyone else.

Every day we are faced with temptation and opportunities to do what our flesh wants to do, even though we know it is wrong in the sight of God. It can be a real battle at times, but God always makes a way to escape it, and sometimes that way of escape is simply to do something quite opposite to what you were being drawn into.

All of us face such daily challenges in our lives, and especially more so when you really want to follow the way of the Lord.

Now, if you give in to sin, then that sin becomes a weapon that hurts you, takes away your peace, and leaves you lost and drifting. This is true.

In the book of Romans, Paul teaches that when we give our physical and mental attributes to doing and thinking wrong, they become weapons of unrighteousness. He tells us not to yield our body and mind to sin, but to yield each part to God as weapons of good against the powers of darkness and for the glory and praise of God.  (Romans ch. 6)

And always remember, keep short accounts with God. What I mean by that is, when you do fail and sin, get back to God immediately, tell him the truth, and ask him for forgiveness and to wash you clean.  (1John 1:9)

Do not wait for some good 'feeling', but get back right with God quickly.  (Psalm 103)


Pilgrim Warrior



Wednesday

You are the living evidence of the resurrection of Jesus Christ


‘And you shall be witnesses to me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.’
  The words of Jesus as in Acts 1:8

‘Say it different!’

‘You will be the living proof and testimony of me in all the countries around, and indeed to the ends of the earth.’

Those who follow Jesus are called to be the legal witnesses, giving evidence to the whole world that Jesus is the Son of God, the Life-changer of all who will believe. 

They are under a Divine Commission to command every person on the planet to repent and be baptized in His name for the forgiveness of sins. Those who believe, repent, and are baptized shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.  (Acts 2:38)

We do not just take a message, but we live life on a different level to others. This world is not our home any longer, but we are citizens of another kingdom. This knowledge transforms our thinking, our attitudes, our motivation, and our manner of living.

Now we are under a compulsion, but it's an exciting and passionate compulsion, to tell people about Jesus' love for sinners, and the coming judgment when all the world will give an account of what they did with Jesus.

It is the most wonderful thing in the world to go out fishing for souls  (Matthew 4:19). Giving away a leaflet, sending a text, going somewhere to tell people what God has done for you. There are so many ways to be a witness to the goodness of God. You can plan your own campaign for winning people to Jesus.



Oh, and by the way, this word 'witness' has nothing to do with the cult Jehovah Witnesses who are completely off the wall and false teachers with their own false bible.


Pilgrim Warrior

Are you a Believer?


 'And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch.’ Acts 11:26

‘It was in Antioch (the ancient capital of Syria, now southern Turkey) where the followers of Christ were first called Christians.’

That name has stuck for over 2,000 years; but I do not like to call people ‘Christian’ anymore, because millions of people call themselves’ Christians, whether they be church-goers, Roman Catholics, Jehovah Witnesses, spiritualists, mediums, clairvoyants, along with many other cults and bizarre societies. We even hear of witches and those involved in Wicca calling themselves by the same religious title. 

The whole mixture is an unholy ‘religious soup’ with no definition, no clarity, and definitely ‘no salt added’!

I prefer to call true followers of Christ, ‘Believers’. They are the salt of the earth, the real light that shines into the darkness of our current age. Here is the proper salt that has not lost its savour, which still preaches the cross of Christ, and is not taken up with all the ‘wealth, prosperity, and success’ clamour of the deluded and worldly-ambition conferences. Such salt preserves society from greater evils, and draws a dividing line between that which is profane and that which is holy.  (Matthew 5:13)

The real church is a separated people, and a revolutionary army of God, that are taken up with the dreadful destiny of the human race. They are impassioned by the great need to bring the gospel of the cross to the world’s attention. They are fishers, seeking every which way to rescue souls from hell and destruction. They are pilgrims just passing through this world, not taken up by all of its fading pursuits for comfort and self-indulgent happiness.

They believe the Bible in their hands to be the inspired and infallible word of God. They believe that God inspired it, and God himself preserved it in purity down through the ages. They deeply reverence it and live by its holy authority and teachings. 

They believe that following Jesus takes them on a road that is travelling the opposite way to this world.

They live as pilgrims who are passing through their short space of time on this earth, but are headed home to their eternal destiny of a glorious life forever more. 

They are not building up treasure troves and investments on earth to be left to someone else to waste, but are laying up treasure in heaven through the precious lives that they come into contact with on their journey.

They are no longer of this world, and are indeed strangers here, not conforming to the music and practises of a sinful and violent population, but flying like eagles above the destitution of a world already under judgment and condemnation.

So, the question is, ‘Are you simply another ‘Christian’, or are you a true Believer and follower of Jesus Christ?’

Crowds always followed Jesus and watched for any miracles he might perform; but their hearts were not with him. When they went back home, nothing had changed, and they just got on with their lives like everyone else.

You can dress like a Christian, look like a Christian, even do all the Christian rituals in the church, but God sees the heart. He knows the truth. You cannot sit at the table of Christ and eat at the table of demons.  (1Corinthians 10:21)

God is looking for real believers; for without faith we can never please him.

If you are going to follow Christ, then it will mean that you must get up from where you are, and leave something behind that you cannot take with you. It might be sin, friends, situations, wealth, false religions, and even the place you live, but everyone who God calls will be required to activate their faith through obedience.

Once faith is activated, there is no going back. Faith is transforming and is the catalyst to greater things than you could ever imagine.

Dare to follow Christ!

Dare to become a true Believer!

 

Pilgrim Warrior

 

What happened to the 'fear of God'?


'God is greatly to be feared in the assembly of the saints, and to be had in reverence of all them that are about him.'  Psalm 89:7

OK, so let me 'say it different'.

'The Almighty God and creator of all things should indeed be feared for his majesty and awesomeness amongst the gathering together of those who call on his name. He should be shown the greatest and highest reverence by everyone who comes to him or stands in his presence.'

If the Queen, or the President, or the richest person on earth, were to invite you to their private residence, how would you dress? How would you behave? How would you fashion your words? How would your heart begin to beat? What emotion, anticipation, and feeling, would there be inside of you?

And yet, we are told that our meeting together as Christians is a meeting (by special  invitation) from the Creator of all things. 

'Unto Him shall the gathering of the people be.' (Genesis 49:10) Every time we come away from everything to talk with God, it is a meeting at the highest level. It is with the King above every king, the most powerful force in the universe, the judge of all the earth, the reader of every thought, the Master of every situation, the Ruler of the nations, the only hope of salvation, forgiveness, and mercy; and the joy of the whole earth.

Well, that sort of throws a huge spanner in the works and behaviour of those who go to church and claim to be his followers (especially here in the west). The cheapness and carnal familiarity that is shown towards God in the meetings held in many churches, shows less respect than most of them would show to a policeman or a school teacher. These days, you can walk in and out as you wish, check your text messages, and even take a call from someone during the short hour together.

The meetings may be loud and happy, the music group pirouetting around the stage in their fancy clothes, the hands of the congregation up in the air whilst having a look around at everyone else, 'but where is my fear?" says the Lord.'

'You show respect, and honour to those who you place higher than yourselves, but treat me with disdain and as a casual acquaintance of lesser importance.' (Malachai 1:6)

In fact, I have noted on many occasions that when a very rich business person is sat in the congregation, the people show more reverence to them than they do to the things of God. They will show more appreciation to the businessman's handouts than to the Bible that is offered them when they enter the building (although, that is quite unlikely to happen these days).

Modern 'Christians' tell us that we do not need to fear God because he is a God of love. "All that 'fear' stuff was for previous generations who were ignorant."

However, 'The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge.' That is divine knowledge which you cannot learn at college or buy off the bookshelf.  (Proverbs 1:7)

'The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life.' It springs up inside you, and flows out of you wherever you may go. It comes from a divine source.  (Proverbs 14:27)

'The fear of the LORD prolongs your days.' It sustains and keeps you through all of life's winds and storms, and brings you to where you need to be. It originates in heaven, and delivers you from evil.  (Proverbs 10:27)

And before anyone says that these verses were all 'Old Testament stuff'', let me point out that the New Testament has much to say about it also.

That early, fresh-born church, 'walked in the fear of the Lord'. (Acts 9:31) All the teachings of the New Testament bring us to the certain conclusion that all flesh should fear before God, for he is a consuming fire, judge of all the earth, and yet draws near to the humble soul. (2Corinthians 7:1)

To fear God is to understand a little of who he is, for the fear of the Lord is the beginning of true knowledge. It is not a cowering fear that causes us to have nothing to do with him, but a holy reverence on such a high level that might indeed be seen by others to be fear. It does not cause us to run from him, but actually inclines us to run to him.  

The 'fear of God' is an honour and reverencing of him, of his holiness, his majesty, his greatness, and his faithfulness. It is at a level that exalts him and respects him properly. The great majority of this generation of church-goers today know nothing of this, and as such know nothing of God. If that makes you angry, then that is proof sufficient to what I say.

The Psalmist said, 'Unite my heart to fear thy name'. (Psalm 86:11) He was asking God to bring his whole life and heart to honour and respect God at the very highest level possible, to walk humbly with Him, and to bow before him who made him. 

If you are a true believer and love the Lord, then you will want to walk with him in reverence and fear. It comes with the born-again experience, for it is the work of the Holy Spirit within you. But of course, if you have not the Holy Spirit of God within you, then you cannot understand the fear of the Lord.

 'Come, you children, listen to me: I will teach you the fear of the LORD.' (Psalm 34:11)

In this Psalm 34, King David expresses most eloquently what the fear of the Lord is. To read this psalm a few times, and drink its truth into your soul, will transform your understanding and give you a right knowledge of the fear of God.  (Psalm 34)


Pilgrim Warrior



What is 'born again'?

Hi there. This growing set of notes are here to help you understand what the Bible really says, and to put it into plain English so that you...